Page 37 - BBHAC Winter 2015-16 Gazette
P. 37

Feature                           35

And don’t the kids love it!

The Blackheath and Bromley Youth Club

For around two years          After one such match in          recently two young athletes
now the parents and track     October 2014 it was decided      Charlie Short and Henry
managers have been running    that they should try setting     Cowie donated their Jack
a youth club for the club’s   up a youth club and so the       Petchey Award money to the
young athletes of all ages    idea was put in motion and       youth club which enabled
from 11 upwards. The          has been running regularly       the club to buy a table tennis
idea was the brainchild of    since. The club meets once a     table, pool table and table
Claire Austridge who was      month on the last Friday of      football. On a few occasions
aware that a need existed     each month and is open from      there have been guest
for a group to encourage the  7pm to 9pm, although there       speakers to the club such as
boys and girls to socialise   is a special Christmas evening   Julie Asher Smith, although
especially after athletics    which is held until 11pm.        this is not a formal part of
meetings.                     The downstairs common            the club’s activities. Generally
                              room is used by the kids for     speaking there is no attempt
                              games activities whilst the      to impose a formal structure
                              club common room is open         on what goes on, so that
                              for parents and coaches or       the kids are able to organise
                              anyone else, with the bar        themselves.
                              being open so that parents
                              can stay for a drink whilst the  The youngsters pay £1 and
                              kids take part in games. On      can then buy soft drinks and
                              a typical evening there are      crisps at the bar. In fact the
                              around 30 kids and a dozen       club is an effective money
                              parents attending.               generator. Since its inception
                                                               the youth club has, according
                              The games on offer include       to manager Claire Austridge,
                              tag football (played outside     donated £1,250 to the main
                              on the lawn in front of the      club and donated small sums
                              club house in the summer),       to support the BBHAC girls’
                              table football, pool and         teams last year. The club is
                              table tennis. There is good      able to run at a profit.
                              equipment available and
                                                               How does the club benefit the
                                                               kids? It gives young people
                                                               somewhere to go on a Friday
                                                               night, the chance to meet
                                                               each other on a social basis
                                                               away from the competitive
                                                               environment of the track and
                                                               field with its own pressures,
                                                               and also meet kids from other
                                                               schools where friendships
                                                               can be nurtured outside
                                                               the pressures of study and
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